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Four Dead (Tired) in O-Hi-O

So, we thought we’d make it to Chicago on our first day, but that was when we were wild eyed optimists, with nothing ahead of us but the open road and the promise of a new adventure at every mile marker.

Once reality sets in, we find ourselves praying to make it to Toledo, where we will be at about 8:30.  We are still planning to hit the Museum of Science and Industry in the morning, but we’ll be leaving Toledo about 6 AM, instead of sleeping in Chicago until 8.

The girls have really been pretty well behaved.  Well, if you discount the “She’s kissing me!” complaints from Eilis and the “She’s not being nice and letting me kiss her!” complaints from Granuaile, they are being on their best behavior.  Thank goodness for the advances in psychiatric treatment that allowed for the development of portable DVD players to keep mothers from abandoning children from one end of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the other.

The worst part of the trip so far is Jim’s choice of radio stations.  I was thrilled that our rental contains Sirius satellite radio.  We opted to shut ours off after our satellite radio broke a few months ago, and I haven’t heard Howard Stern in weeks and weeks.  Well, with Jim doing the bulk of the driving, he’s been listening to classic radio shows from the 40’s and 50’s.  Thank goodness for the advances in psychiatric medicine that allowed for the invention of air cards to give you internet access in the car so you don’t abandon your husband on the Ohio Turnpike.

The Pilgrimage

I, like many people, have a morning routine.  I get up, shower, brush my teeth, get the kids off to school or summer activities, and then slip over to Cherry Hill, where I have carried on a three year love affair – every morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and even an occasional evening.

I head to Starbucks.  After some experimentation back in the early days, we have settled into a comfortable and monogamous relationship.  Me and a Venti seven pump skinny vanilla latte. 

I have not been to Seattle since I discovered the joy of Starbucks coffee, so this cross country road trip for me is like going to Mecca.  The mission is to venture to the original Starbucks location, see how wonderful the latte tastes in the hallowed halls of the flagship venture, and then report back to my wonderful baristas in Cherry Hill that they are, of course, FAR better than any Starbucks baristas anywhere across this great big country.

The journey begins, as it should, at my Starbucks in Cherry Hill, NJ.  Sandi, the best barista (and hairdresser) on the planet, is there; and so is Andrew – the second best barista anywhere on the planet – and he’s only second because he can’t highlight my hair.

Let’s see where the journey shall take us!

2009 Cross Country Road Trip – The Adventure Begins

A few weeks ago, Jim brought up the idea that we should take the family on a cross country road trip.  Yes – as in our country, not one of those tiny little ones where you find characters like Balki or Latka.  He’s talking the good ol’ US of A.

Many years ago, when Brighid was nine, we did this cross country expedition.  We did it with my sister in tow, and planned it out for weeks, bought books like “Just Where the Hell Is the Largest Ball of Twine?”, and set out to spend a full month between the drive out from Florida to Seattle and back.  It was pretty easy then.  There were three adults – me, Bean, and Jim (well, okay, he’s a man, so that technically doesn’t count as an adult – more like a junior) – and Brighid, who at 8 years old was a fairly sophisticated kid.

I kind of put the thought of going in the back of my mind, because, well, Jim is crazy, and it’s very difficult to know when he gets too wrapped up in his computer game and says something out loud that I take to heart.  Imagine how red my face was, standing at 2 o’clock in the morning one morning in my night gown, on the front lawn, looking for the epic battle taking place somewhere in space after he yelled into the headset I didn’t realize he was wearing, “Get out there!  Go!  NOW!  Don’t you see what’s happening?  Look at that *@#>ing planet!”  You can imagine, after that, when I realized he was talking to someone in the battle alliance in his game, that I don’t listen to him all that often anymore, and if I happen to overhear something, I assume it’s directed at another gamer.

So on Friday – last Friday, just 5 days ago, when he says, “I won’t know until after my call on Monday if I can take the ride”, I naturally assumed he was talking about going for the ride to Starbucks to get my morning latte.  On Monday, just after Jim’s phone call, with my mother having just been admitted to the hospital via ambulance, you could have knocked me over with a feather when Jim said, “Okay, so how long until you’re ready to go?”  To steal a phrase from my Disney Mom BFF Karen, we shall call this WTF Moment #1.

We decide to wait and see if my mom’s condition stablizes before I commit to taking this trip, and Jim gets incredibly disappointed when he realizes Brighid doesn’t want to come.  She has her driving test coming up, concert tickets, and college stuff going on.  It makes me not want t go – I will, after all, be the only adult on the trip with two children and that irresponsible junior of a husband.  To make it seem as though all the stars have aligned against the trip, I come down sick.  I can’t talk, my throat hurts, I’m coughing and crabby. 

So yeah, we decide to go.  How effed up is that?

After doing some running around on Tuesday, including a trip to the hospital to see my mom, a stop to get an air card to motivate me to blog for all of you kind people, a visit to the uniform store to get Eilis’ school uniforms for this year, and a trip to get new school shoes, I head home to spend my evening packing.  Between coughing fits, bites of soup, the season opener of Hell’s Kitchen, the Phillies beating the Cubs, and Rescue Me, I manage to have all of our stuff ready to go by midnight.  I set the alarm for 4:45, knowing we’ll never be up in 2 hours to leave at 2 AM, and I head to bed.

At 4:45, the junior gets up, shuts the alarm off, and comes back to bed.  Where is another grown up when I need one?

At 6:45, I wake up, get my shower, grab the suitcase from out in the garage that Jim was going to get last night, find him sitting, wearing only a towel (yeah, the only thing you can use to get that visual out of your mind is battery acid), playing his computer game.  I am beginning to think that the trip was really just a misunderstood comment he was making to his online buddies, but then he says he’s heading to the shower.

Some time, way too long later, we are heading out to get my coffee, pick up our rental car (aren’t they going to love us when we return it with 8000 more miles on it?), then back home to pack up said rental mobile.  A quick, 40 minute stop at Walmart for emergency provisions (two portable DVD players, two styrofoam coolers, ice, snacks, drinks, and cough drops – hey, do you know what MacGuyver could do with that stuff?  Build an atomic bomb!), lunch at Arby’s, since it’s Free Food Wednesday and we’ve never eaten at this Arby’s, and we are on our way!

It’s gonna be a bumpy night!